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Art Therapy for Everyone

Updated on May 14, 2020
jennkesler profile image

Jenn is a fourth-year college student studying psychology. She plans to have a career in art therapy.

Artists do what they do because it's satisfying to make something original. This concept of creating for the sake of satisfaction and personal enjoyment is the foundation of Art Therapy.

It may be surprising to learn that art is being used as medical treatment today. It may be even more surprising to learn that it is very effective and beneficial.

by Jenn Kesler
by Jenn Kesler

Clinical Art Therapy

Art therapy is a clinical practice used for many physical and mental health cases. These cases vary from depression to cancer symptom control.

A friend of mine graduated some years ago with a degree in Art Therapy from Wayne State University. She works as an art therapist and an art teacher in Michigan. When I asked about her experience providing art therapy, she described to me one session when the client was drawing a house. The house was drawn without a door. Noticing this, the art therapist asked about the client's experience with trusting new people. This specific example may help with picturing what a session of art therapy may ensue. The purpose of art in therapy is to guide the session as well as help uncover thoughts and feelings.

Research has found art therapy to be an incredibly effective treatment.

Art Therapy for Everyone

It is amazing how drawing, painting, and all other types of art-making strengthen mental health. Although the use of art in a health care setting is impressive, the benefits of art in everyday life should not be overlooked.

Because of art therapy's clinical benefits, it could be assumed that art is a preventative practice when it comes to health care. Whether you are doing simple macaroni crafts, or sculpting marble, any artistic hobby will not only satisfy your creativity but could possibly prevent mental health decline.

You may be thinking: but I'm not really an artsy person. I personally think that art is something anyone can practice and improve upon as long as you have the drive to do so. Like other skills, "good" art-making is not innate.

Painting, etching, drawing, embroidering, sculpting, and other activities are not the only ways to experience art. Art therapy can be practiced without art making.

by Jenn Kesler
by Jenn Kesler

In my opinion, art is more than paint on a canvas, or ink on paper. Art is anything beautiful, and can be found anywhere.

Appreciating art is the most common form of art therapy. From admiring art in a museum to noticing graffiti on the sidewalk, art is experienced everywhere. Smearing a canvas with color may be enthralling and therapeutic for many artists. Not only is an art form like painting therapeutic to execute, it is therapeutic to look at and admire. Trying to find meaning within the textures of a painting has no rules. Interpreting art is a huge part of experiencing art. Enjoying art is a huge part of art therapy.

© 2020 Jenn Kesler


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    • jennkesler profile imageAUTHOR

      Jenn Kesler 

      8 days ago from Michigan, USA

      Thanks for reading!

    • Jaime Fitzgerald profile image

      Jaime Fitzgerald 

      10 days ago from United States

      I never thought of art therapy as preventative psycholgical maintenance, that's a great way to frame it!

    • jennkesler profile imageAUTHOR

      Jenn Kesler 

      2 weeks ago from Michigan, USA

      Glad you learned something Jack :)

    • Jack Shorebird profile image

      Jack Shorebird 

      2 weeks ago from Central Florida, US

      I learned something. I like that. I never thought of as therapy, but always enjoyed my finished products--unless I didn't. Then the therapy didn't work.

    • jennkesler profile imageAUTHOR

      Jenn Kesler 

      2 weeks ago from Michigan, USA

      Hi Lorna. So happy you enjoyed reading :)

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      2 weeks ago

      Art Therapy has many therapeutic benefits and I often use colouring in to relax. This form of therapy is very successful in the treatment of many mental disorders and a great tool in reducing stress. An excellent and informative article Jenn which I enjoyed reading.

    • jennkesler profile imageAUTHOR

      Jenn Kesler 

      2 weeks ago from Michigan, USA

      Thanks Eric!

    • profile image


      3 weeks ago

      Very interesting. I'm interested to learn more.


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